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Phil Harrell

Kacey Musgraves wrote her last album, Golden Hour, when she was falling in love. It won her a Grammy for Album of the Year and best country album, and spurred what was a fast-growing career into being (maybe beyond) fully-grown. But when that love started to fade, what else? She began writing another.

Ella Yelich-O'Connor, known to the world as Lorde, is embracing a sunnier and more analog sound, full of plucked acoustic guitars and brushed snares. Since releasing her breakout single, "Royals," in 2013, she's made the most of hook-heavy pop songs constructed from a palette of overcast electronic sounds.

"In the past," she says, "I'd hear an acoustic guitar and I'd say 'Oh, here we go. It's about to get painfully authentic!' "

Janet Jackson's album Control was one of the biggest hits of 1986 – and the Grammy-winning beginning of a legendary partnership between Jackson and the album's producers, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.

The opioid crisis in the U.S. has never gone away.

Almost every year, more people die of opioid overdoses than in the year before. More than a half-million people have died from prescription painkillers, heroin and illicit fentanyl since 1999. Provisional data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than 66,000 people died of an opioid overdose in the U.S. in the 12 months to September 2020, a huge jump from the previous 12 months.

When the Rolling Stones released "Gimme Shelter" in 1969, everyone recognized Mick Jagger. But at the time, no one knew who that voice – you know the one – belonged to.

Opera Philadelphia has, of course, spent the last year unable to stage live works in theaters. In response, they started creating original works written for the camera, to be shared and viewed online as part of an ongoing effort to bring a wider range of voices into the repertory.

On July 4, 1970, the countdown started. Originally hosted by Casey Kasem, American Top 40 played "the best selling and most-played songs from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from Canada to Mexico," as he stated on the first program broadcast 50 years ago as of tomorrow.

On any given week, American Top 40 could feature a ballad, next to a country song, next to a funk song, next to a rock song. The show became a national obsession but 50 years ago, it was considered a risky idea.

Morning Edition's series One-Hit Wonders / Second-Best Songs focuses on musicians or bands whose careers in the United States are defined by a single monster hit, and explains why their catalogs have much more to offer.

Morning Edition's series One-Hit Wonders / Second-Best Songs focuses on musicians or bands whose careers in the United States are defined by a single monster hit, and explains why their catalogs have much more to offer.

In this edition, Guy Raz, host of NPR podcasts How I Built This and Wow in the World, makes a case for Talk Talk, a band that hit No. 1 on the U.S. dance charts with the song "It's My Life." Read Guy in his own words below, and hear the radio version at the audio link.

Morning Edition's series called One-Hit Wonders / Second-Best Songs focuses on musicians or bands whose careers in the United States are defined by a single monster hit, and explains why their catalogs have much more to offer.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Every generation has a handful of songs that invoke memories of sweltering days at the beach, barbecue or backyard and the warm nights that follow. Since it's that time of the year again, we're asking: What are the songs of the summer for 2018?

Pioneering rockers like Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard brought the fire of a Pentecostal preacher to their pianos. That same spirit is alive and well in the work of Low Cut Connie, whose fifth album Dirty Pictures (Part 2) comes out May 18.

James Brown once said, "I've only got seventh grade education, but I have a doctorate in funk, and I like to put that to good use."

In 1946, Nat King Cole became the first recording artist to wrap his lush vocals around what would become a standard of the holiday season, "The Christmas Song." But that song was written by a different crooner: Mel Tormé.

NPR's Noel King spoke with Mel Tormé's youngest son, James — an accomplished jazz singer himself — to get the story behind the creation of this Christmas classic.

Baltimore's Lafayette Gilchrist is a jazz pianist, but when his band the New Volcanoes backs him up, listeners also get something different: a go-go beat.